DENVER, CO – The House today passed legislation on a preliminary vote to preserve Colorado’s fresh water. HB23-1242 would require oil and gas operators to reduce, reuse and recycle water in their drilling operations.
“Fresh water in Colorado is limited, and we’re working toward solutions that preserve this precious resource across our state,” said Rep. Andrew Boesenecker, D-Fort Collins. “This legislation creates tools to increase the recycling and reuse of produced water in oil and gas operations. As we continue to combat the worst drought conditions of our lifetime, it’s vital for us to use every method at our disposal to preserve our water.”
“Freshwater is precious, and we’re taking necessary steps to conserve it in Colorado,”said Rep. Junie Joseph, D-Boulder. “This legislation improves transparency and reporting in oil and gas operations that will help transition from using fresh water to recycled water. Clear actions outlined in this bill will save billions of gallons of water in Colorado and are essential to address these long term drought conditions that impact our day to day lives.”
HB23-1242 directs the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) in the Department of Natural Resources to adopt rules requiring operators to reduce, reuse, and recycle water used in oil and gas operations, and ensures operators regularly report the volume and source of the water used to the COGCC.
Colorado and the entire west are facing the worst drought conditions in 1,200 years. Last year, oil and gas operations used nearly 24 million gallons of freshwater per well. Requiring oil and gas operators to use recycled water in lieu of using fresh water will save billions of gallons of fresh water for farmers and Colorado communities.
HB23-1242 also establishes new transparency and reporting requirements for all water used, recycled, and disposed of by oil and gas operators. This reporting will enhance the Commission's and public’s understanding of how water is managed and disposed of in oil and gas operations. The bill also creates the Colorado Produced Water Consortium in the Department of Natural Resources to make recommendations for the recycling and reuse of significant water in oil and gas operations in line with the COGCC’s mission.